The Stephen Ministers are reading Antagonists in the Church by Kenneth Haugk, the founder of Stephen Ministry. This is one of many books, Dr. Haugk has written on interpersonal relationships for the Stephen Ministers.
As the Stephen Ministers have read this book, it was discovered that although there are no antagonists at UMCC, many lessons and discussion points of importance were revealed. There will always be people that may not be able to get along, but are still very passionate about a program or topic. That does not necessarily make someone an antagonist. There are people with challenges and issues in their lives that affect their interaction with others at church … that’s human nature … but they are not necessarily antagonists.
Antagonists try to intentionally disrupt routines and create chaos to show that a targeted leader is incompetent. Dr. Haugk identifies these characteristics as red flags. Do they boldly announce “I got the last (insert leader position title here) fired”? Do they flaunt their tendency to be disruptive at other events? Are they vague when saying others are displeased e.g. “I know there are others who don’t want to be named who are dissatisfied with ___”? Or do they put down the person who was previously a leader and is now gone? These are all red flags when dealing with an antagonist.
If ever there are circumstances where this behavior arises in a UMCC committee or work group, please let Pastor Gary or a Stephen Minister know. Sometimes people react strongly to a comment when they are really upset about something else. It should not be taken personally, but instead ask the individual if he is okay and wants to talk about whatever is bothering him. In this way, one demonstrates Christian care. If that person could benefit from Stephen Ministry, tell about the program and help facilitate contact with Pastor Gary or Sandra Woods, Stephen Leader.